“Hi, my name is Amy Barak-Nelson. My mom is a Nelson and my dad is a Barak and just in case you were wondering, I’m aware I have two last names. If you don’t know me, I’m a seventeen year old American teenager with red, white, and blue blood running through my veins. You’re probably wondering why right now I’m on a bus in Israel on my way to an Israeli boot camp.”
In Simone Elkeles’ third book of her “How To” series, How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation, you don’t have to wonder long. Amy Barak-Nelson — drama queen — holds nothing back. This Chicago princess has signed up for one week of Israeli boot camp in order to see her boyfriend, Avi, who is stationed there. Accompanied by her friends, Amy deals with the heat, her hair, the language, and the unexpected discovery that her boyfriend has kissed another girl behind her back. The Israeli boot camp experience provides challenges for the Americans, but no real danger. Although the tone of the narrative is always fun and light-hearted, this book offers themes that include friendship, loyalty, forgiveness, as well as pride in Israel. Some readers might find Amy shallow or superficial, but all will find her fun loving, and when it counts, able to pull it together. Chick lit readers will love this series. The humorous tone and content is suitable for readers 12 and up.